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EIGHT areas of Britain have more children living in poverty than not, new research revealed today.
The End Poverty Action Coalition found that there were eight constituencies in Britain — all in London and Birmingham, with Bethnal Green & Bow topping the list — where more than half of children were living in poverty.
Soaring house prices in London was cited as a major factor pushing families to the brink.
GMB’s London branch called for action to help lower paid staff in the capital.
Political officer Vaughan West said: “Building more council homes at real affordable rents, forcing public bodies to pay the London living wage to outsourced workers and higher child benefits and universal credit for families are part of a viable solution.
“So too is making work pay so new laws are needed to help lower paid workers to combine into trade unions and force employers to bargain with them for proper wages.”
Stagnating wages have also fuelled soaring poverty levels in the north-east, which has experienced the biggest rise in child poverty of any area over the past five years, the report found.
North-east England now experiences the second-highest levels of child poverty in the country, driven by caps on in-work benefits pushing low-paid workers below the poverty line, it said.
Vikki Waterman, a single mother of two from Durham who works full time as a dentist’s administrator, said: “Too many of us in the north-east work twice as hard for half as much.
“We’re not living, we’re just about surviving.”
Of the British nations, Wales has the highest rate of children living in poverty — 31 per cent — followed by England at 30 per cent, with Scotland and Northern Ireland equal on 24 per cent.
Coalition chairwoman Anna Feuchtwang said: “The figures speak for themselves — the situation for children couldn’t be starker.
“We all want to live in a society where children are supported to be the best they can be, but the reality is very different for too many.”
A government spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting families most in need, spending billions more on welfare and planning a long-term route out of poverty by protecting jobs through furlough and helping people find new work through our plan for jobs.
“We also introduced our £269 million Covid-19 local support grant to help children and families stay warm and well-fed throughout the pandemic.”
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